WASHINGTON–Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar defended U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s use of tear gas against migrants attempting to rush the U.S. border near Tijuana and said he believes those who participated in the riot last Sunday only hurt the cause of the migrant caravan.
“I immediately got a video from the Mexican side and the American side, Border Patrol, and then some of my Mexican friends. Now I know there were some families there–kids, and I saw that,” Rep. Cuellar told The Daily Caller Friday. “As a parent, if I saw that, I probably wouldn’t have my kids there, number one. I saw people throwing rocks at Border Patrol.”
He continued, “But if you start throwing rocks, and I saw them breaking through there–if you got 100 people rushing, whatever number, and you had less Border Patrol CBP officers … you are going to use tear gas. You are going to defend yourself–especially if they’re throwing rocks.” (RELATED: Tijuana Declares Humanitarian Crisis As Caravan Migrants Overwhelm City Shelter Capacity)
Cuellar added, “So I do stand with Border Patrol on their response, because I’ve been in constant contact with them for years. Families should not have been there, especially when they saw what was happening. They should have brought their kids away from that.” (RELATED: Some Caravan Members Giving Up And Going Home After Finding It Difficult To Enter The U.S.)
Cuellar’s thoughts on the matter differ greatly from other Democrats on Capitol Hill. Immediately after video of the violence on the border and the tear gas response from Border Patrol surfaced, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz, tweeted “Is this legal? Is this accurate? What is happening here?”
Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who lost his bid for the Senate against Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, told The Houston Chronicle in a statement, “It should tell us something about our country that we only respond to this desperate need once she is at our border. So far, in this administration, that response has included taking kids from their parents, locking them up in cages, and now tear gassing them at the border.” (Related: Border Patrol Agent Reveals The Biggest Risks Associated With The Migrant Caravan)
Border patrol used tear gas 126 times since 2010, according to DHS data obtained by Fox News.
Under the Obama administration, tear gas was deployed at the border 26 times in 2012, 27 times in 2013, 15 times in 2014, eight times in 2015, and three times in 2016. Meanwhile, USCBP has used tear gas 18 times in 2017 and 29 times in 2018.